Biodiv Sci ›› 2003, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (5): 393-406.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2003047

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The zoogeography of Chinese Palaemonoidea fauna

LI Xin-Zheng, LIU Rui-Yu, LIANG Xiang-Qiu   

  1. 1 Institute of Oceanology,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Qingdao 266071
    2 Shanghai Fishery University,Shanghai 200090
  • Received:2003-02-20 Revised:2003-06-06 Online:2003-09-20 Published:2003-09-20
  • Contact: LI Xin-Zheng


In the present paper, we discuss the distribution and faunal characteristics of Palaemonoid Decapods in China.  Three families, Anchistioididae, Gnathophyllidae, and Palaemonidae, of the Superfamily Palaemonoidea have been found in Chinese marine and fresh waters.  In the family Anchistioididae, a rare marine group comprising only 1 genus and 4 species, only 1 species was found, from the Nansha Islands in the southern South China Sea.  Of the small family Gnathophyllidae, which includes 4 genera and 12 species, 3 common Indo-West Pacific species were recorded from the Xisha Islands in the northwestern South China Sea.  Species of these two families are tropical (in nature).  The Palaemonidae, the largest and a very common family of Palaemonoidea, is widely distributed in world oceans and freshwater habitats and consists of 2 subfamilies and 102 genera.  This family is very rich in species in Chinese waters.  The Subfamily Palaemoninae is a free living group inhabiting mainly freshwater or shallow marine and brackish water habitats.  A total of 61 species belonging to 9 genera were reported from China, mostly in southern parts.  The fauna belongs to the tropical and subtropical Indo-West Pacific Region (marine and brackishwater) or Oriental Realm (freshwater). A few temperate species of Exopalaemon, Palaemon and Palaemonetes extend their distributional range northward to Siberian waters.  Species of the Subfamily Pontoniinae are exclusively marine, most of which are coral reef dwellers in the tropical and subtropical Indo-West Pacific Region.  About 80% of the Pontoniinae species live commensally with other marine invertebrates, such as coelenterates, sponges, bivalve mollusks, echinoderms, and ascidians.  We consider that the origin and distribution center of the fauna is in the coral reef areas of the Indo-West Pacific, and they developed well when associated with other marine living organisms, and then expanded their range to tropical American waters.  To date, 31 genera and 96 species of Pontoniinae have been reported in Chinese waters, all of which are from the South China Sea, except Periclimenes tosaensis, which has also been recorded in the East China Sea and southern Japanese waters, parts of the tropical and subtropical Indo-West Pacific Region.